Readers sound off on bail reform, education in prison and "Okay, Boomer"
Added 12-10-19 03:13:03am EST - “Port Washington, L.I.: "Will bail reform fail addicts?" (op-ed, Dec. 6): I was the chief medical officer of the New York City jail system where we worked every day to provide evidence-based treatment to patients, including those with…” - Nydailynews.com
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Port Washington, L.I.: In response to “Will bail reform fail addicts?” (op-ed, Dec. 6): I was the chief medical officer of the New York City jail system where we worked every day to provide evidence-based treatment to patients, including those with substance use disorders. I am proud of the work we did and this should be a standard everywhere. But make no mistake, treatment in jail involves being in a setting that brings profound health risks.
As a senior fellow at the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, I also know that the risk of death increases after jail release, especially for people who use drugs. Bail reform is an opportunity for New York to invest in community-based treatment options sufficient to address the needs of those who will no longer be jailed to justify providing treatment.
To take the writer’s stance that we accept jail as the “most viable” approach to treatment for people with substance use disorders reinforces the profound bigotry that built mass incarceration. Jails are full of people who are poor, people of color, and people with behavioral health problems. Bail reform must push us to address disparities, not rely on them. Homer Venters, MD
Manhattan: Kimberly Collica-Cox’s claim that jail is the best solution for substance-use issues, given a lack of community-based treatment, is a haphazard idea with incredibly destructive consequences. As the managing director of policy, advocacy and campaigns at the Drug Policy Alliance, I know that we should divest altogether from the criminal legal system and fund actual non-coercive health-based alternatives without added trauma and collateral consequences of incarceration. We must not forget that reliance on the criminal legal system and deprioritization of health resources is what brought us here. Kassandra Frederique
Forked River, N.J.: Who are the clueless lawmakers who created a law that says prosecutors can’t set bail or have electronic monitoring bracelets put on thugs like the criminals arrested for running a dogfighting ring (“No bail for three suspects freed in Manhattan dogfight case,” Dec. 6)? Those men, who abused those poor dogs — beating them, starving them, training them to kill — are simply set free to continue their criminal enterprises. What kind of mindless politicians would protect thugs like these? It’s time we voted out the incompetence and started putting sadistic criminals in prison for a change. Jim Hughes
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